Meeting God in the New Testament
2 Corinthians 3-4
When we seek to have a special time of devotions or quiet times, are we asking for something normal or extraordinary? We suggest that this special time with God is what every Christian should look like. The New Testament serves us well in explaining its importance. It fully illustrates what this communion should be like between God and man.
The Teaching of Apostle Paul
We need to look at what Paul says about Moses in 2 Corinthians 3-4.
Notice how Paul alludes to Moses' meeting with God. Moses had a veiled face; we have an unveiled face. Moses beheld the glory of the Lord; we behold the glory of God. Moses was transformed; we are transformed. Moses was changed by the Lord; we are likewise changed by the Spirit.
Chapter 3 clearly refers to Moses' meeting with God (1). Some might argue that this passage refers to Moses' special time with God on Mount Sinai. That is possible. But even if this is so, this would only strengthen the argument ever further.
The apostle agreed to using the model of Moses' experience with God for us Christians. There is a difference, but if anything the Christian has the greater experience because he has the longlasting greater glory. This experience comes through our times spent in God's presence. Notice Paul's words,
Clearly this refers to the light the Christian has from knowing God through Christ. Paul is not just speaking of himself nor just the other apostles. The treasure of the Holy Spirit is given to each Christian. We need faith to believe and act upon it. We need to be with God to receive this light.
Paul even goes a step further. Experiencing God brings forth a ministry. In 4:1 Paul says, "This is our ministry." In other words, we as God's people have received the Spirit of God, and so we do not only have a knowledge of God but a ministry that flows from it. This is normal. Anything in the Old Testament is far surpassed in the New Testament. Moses had a ministry that developed from his intimacy with God. When we meet the Lord, we too experience the Lord. The opportunity has broadened out to all of His people.
Paul captures this intimacy with God even more specifically in chapter 5. Our bodies are described as tents (2). God lives in them. Paul well says in 4:11, "... That the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh."
The Example of Jesus Christ
Jesus gives us a perfect example of this communion with the Father in His life. We might dismiss this as not a model for us to follow. However, a host of scripture passages challenge us to know Christ, pray regularly, meditate on His word, obey His Word, walk in the Spirit, etc.
The word 'Christian' literally means 'little Christ.' We are to be like Christ. Our fellowship with God the Father differs not in whom we meet, but only in the way we come to Him. We come freely into God's presence in Christ's Name through the Holy Spirit. Listen to these words exhorting us to commune with God in John 14:23,
From a cursory look at the New Testament, we find that no matter what happened in the Old Testament with Moses, we are not only to look forward to this meeting with God, but we are to anticipate more from our time with Him. Not less, but more. The glory is ongoing rather than one which fades away. The passage from Exodus instructs Christians as to what is normal and good. The New Testament amplifies the glorious aspect of this intimacy with God.
The power of effective and constant devotions is found in the motivation to know and meet God. Jesus said in Matthew 5:6,
Without this purpose of meeting God in our minds and hearts, we are merely occupying our time with religious activities. In a religious age, many would find these religious disciplines good just because others would look up to them. In our secular world, though, there is no time for any religion other than focuses on self. Even religious habits are largely despised. Unless we are rightly motivated, we will become weary in doing good. If you are struggling having regular and meaningful devotions, examine the reason you even have devotions. What is it that you really want from that invested time?
Let's now look at how to have effective quiet times. How can we meet God through our prayer and Bible study times? Next>
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